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Headword: Φοινικήϊα γράμματα
Adler number: phi,787
Translated headword: Phoenician letters
Vetting Status: high
Lydians and Ionians [call] the letters [thus] from their inventor Phoinix the son of Agenor; but Cretans disagree with them, [saying that] the name was derived from writing on palm leaves [phoinika]. But Skamon[1] in his second book on Discoveries [says] that they were named from Phoinike the daughter of Aktaion. Legend tells that this man[2] had no male children, but had daughters Aglauros, Erse, and Pandrosos; Phoinike, however, died while still a virgin. For this reason Aktaion [called] the letters Phoenician, because he wanted to give some share of honor to his daughter.
Greek Original:
Φοινικήϊα γράμματα: Λυδοὶ καὶ Ἴωνες τὰ γράμματα ἀπὸ Φοίνικος τοῦ Ἀγήνορος τοῦ εὑρόντος: τούτοις δὲ ἀντιλέγουσι Κρῆτες, ὡς εὑρέθη ἀπὸ τοῦ γράφειν ἐν φοινίκων πετάλοις. Σκάμων δ' ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ τῶν εὑρημάτων ἀπὸ Φοινίκης τῆς Ἀκταίωνος ὀνομασθῆναι. μυθεύεται δ' οὗτος ἀρσένων μὲν παίδων ἄπαις, γενέσθαι δὲ αὐτῷ θυγατέρας Ἄγλαυρον, Ἔρσην, Πάνδροσον: τὴν δὲ Φοινίκην ἔτι παρθένον οὖσαν τελευτῆσαι. διὸ καὶ Φοινικήϊα τὰ γράμματα τὸν Ἀκταίωνα, βουλόμενόν τινος τιμῆς ἀπονεῖμαι τῇ θυγατρί.
For other accounts of the introduction of writing, see alpha 69, gamma 416, kappa 21, kappa 22, lambda 568.
[1] Skamon of Mytilene (C4 BCE), sigma 531: see FGrH 476, where the present passage is F2.
[2] See alpha 1034.
Keywords: aetiology; botany; children; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; geography; historiography; mythology; women
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 13 February 2002@16:18:03.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added notes and keyword; cosmetics) on 14 February 2002@03:24:55.
Catharine Roth (corrected cross-reference) on 14 February 2002@10:48:58.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 23 September 2002@00:39:02.
David Whitehead (restorative cosmetics) on 18 July 2003@03:43:12.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 6 October 2005@10:19:16.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 18 December 2013@07:05:54.


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